I write to you as a member of the TC3 Residents Group (facebook).
In July of 2012 the Christchurch City Council unanimously supported the call for an advisory service in Christchurch. An article in the Press (13.08.12) by Lois Cairns stated “Insurance companies are close to signing off plans for a new service that should make it easier for homeowners to navigate their way through the red tape and get their claims settled.” According to this article “Insurance Council spokesman Brett Solvander said there was broad agreement across the industry on the need for some sort of Christchurch body to try to resolve insurance issues…”.
Yet eight months on we are still waiting for confirmation as to when this service will be available and what format it will take. I have myself repeatedly asked this very question of CERA on its facebook page and have astonishingly failed to elicit a response.
The residential recovery is not simply a numbers game paying heed only to the number of claims settled or in pre-construction but more importantly it is about the way in which recovery is being achieved. EQC has undertaken to carry out repairs through their own PMO to ensure the quality of the housing stock in Christchurch and what should be of great concern to our government, CERA and the Christchurch City Council is the quality of the housing stock which falls under the control of our insurance industry.
Given the resources and finances put into the categorisation of land in Canterbury, the collation and interpretation of geo-technical data and the investigations and peer review of guidance for repairs and rebuilds in Canterbury it is reprehensible to then allow the insurance industry to deny residents their full rights under their policies without access to specialist support. My personal situation is a case in point and Vero’s approach to my claim makes a mockery of the resources and finances expended to ensure the viability and quality of repair and rebuild of damaged homes.
Not all badly affected residents are in a position to seek independent advice on the application of their policy terms to their specific damage situation and not all residents are financially able to seek recourse in the Courts. These are the very people our government, CERA and the Christchurch City Council should be supporting. Given the request for an insurance tribunal was not adopted it is also paramount that any advisory service is readily accessible and effective so as to provide a mechanism for resolution without the need for litigation.
Accountability and transparency from all agencies involved in this city wide recovery should be paramount. The lack of an advisory service in Christchurch eight months on brings into question, for me personally, the accountability and transparency of CERA, the Christchurch City Council and the Insurance Council.
New Zealand is a seismic country and the insurance issues being faced in Christchurch are of national concern. A precedent needs to be set here and we simply have to have an insurance industry that can be relied upon when it is most needed.
A simple question – when can we expect the long awaited advisory service to be available to us and what format will it take?
I would be most grateful for a response from any of you.